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I used to think taking our dog Bernice to the dog park every day for an hour for socialization was being “responsible.” We went to a well respected dog park every day for the first 8 months of her life. In that time, she was attacked 4 times (by 3 different Chocolate Labs and once by a Black Lab), tore both of her knees from stepping in the holes other dogs made (and had to have 2 TPLO surgeries) and caught kennel cough twice.

Bernice was my first dog as an adult. I made a lot of mistakes with her and I could have been a much more responsible owner. It is the owner’s actions that set their dogs up for failure by exposing them to the wrong situations.

Here’s what you can do to be a responsible owner:

  • Spay/Neuter all pets. (Of all dog related claims, 97% are unneutered males)
  • Do not chain your animals. How would you like to live on a chain? I’d be a nasty “Bitch” if you kept me outside tied up. Dogs want to be part of your family, not pets.
  • Do not leave your animals unattended for extended periods of time.
  • Do not leave children unattended when animals are around.
  • Try to get some type of training with your dog.
  • Do not frequent dog parks. Many dog owners sip coffee and spend their time texting while at the dog park. By the time a dog fight breaks out, it’s too late and they weren’t watching their dog to prevent the incident. I especially love those “pet sitters” who stupidly bring a bunch of dogs to the dog park and let them run free. Most of these “pet sitters” wouldn’t know what to do if a fight broke out. Which dog would they grab if a fight broke out? You can’t pick up all 7 dogs you are supposed to be responsible for. This is a recipe for disaster.
  • Have a fenced area large enough for the animal to get exercise.
  • If no fenced area you have enough time to regularly walk your dog (on a leash).

The most important thing you can do is KNOW YOUR BREED!!! Did your dog come from a back yard breeder (someone who just puts 2 dogs together to have a litter)? These dogs are not bred for temperament and due to inbreeding, some dogs will not be mentally stable.

Each breed has its characteristics. Of course not every dog within that breed will fit the stereotypical characteristics, but know they exist. For example, some breeds at the age of 1 or 1 ½ start to become more independent and you see an increase in confidence. This can lead to dominant and sometimes aggressive behavior. As a responsible owner, you need to know the best places to bring your dog based on their personality.

Finally, a responsible owner has the right insurance to cover their dog. Whether you are a home owner or renter, we can help you get a policy to cover the actions of your dog. Please visit for more information or give us a call at 619-313-4643.

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